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Parents in today’s digital world often complain of their kids’ battle over screen time and TV addiction. Be it children as young as three year olds throwing unending tantrums when the mobile phone is snatched away from them, eight year olds watching YouTube all through the night, and nine year olds demanding their own phones, this TV and mobile addiction is apparent at every stage of childhood and adolescence.
This brings up the questions – “How much screen time is too much time for your kids”?
The answer to this is largely dependent of your child’s age and the recommendations are usually geared towards minimizing screen time in children under the age of two. Between the ages of two and five, parents are recommended to keep the screen time to under one hour a day and kids older than five should not have more than two hours of screen time per day.
Does this mean that it’s alright if kids can play video games for two hours on a Sunday or if they can split it up to three 20-minute sessions? Is it ok for your one year old watches a few episodes of Peppa Pig before dinner? In a way, yes and if this turns into an addiction, then it could pose as a problem.
It is also important to recognize the types of screen times, which are listed as below:
The most important thing is that screen time should be kept within a limit. Moreover, it’s not just about the duration of the screen time; rather, it’s the nature of the screen time that does. Psychologists who specialize in the concept of ‘digital nutrition’ compare media diets to what’s on our plate. Instead of counting the calories (or screen time), start thinking about what you’re eating. It is also recommended that screen times be used as a reward rather than as a punishment. When parents use it as a reward for their child’s good behaviour, kids will start appreciating it more as well.
Technology creates or destroys relationships and it can play a key role in your family life as well. Parents can use screen time in order to pacify their kids into calming and distracting their child but this shouldn’t be used as the sole method of doing so. Rather, encourage other interesting activities such as arts and crafts, montessori materials and educational toys as it can help your child interact, learn and develop in a much healthier way.
While TV and video games can also be a creative outlet, excessive use of it can affect sleep, cause mood swings and create adverse health conditions. It falls into the responsibility of parents to monitor their child’s screen time, making sure that what they are watching or playing is age-appropriate, safe and of good quality content. Parents shouldn’t also completely dismiss screen time; rather, maintain a good balance in the offline and online worlds so children can learn and experience the best of both. In fact, not having access to the digital world could even have a negative impact on kids so it’s all about finding that perfect balance.